Wavehill, social and economic research experts have again completed an in-depth evaluation of the progress and impact of the services and support provided by the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub.

The report, found below, outlines the valuable work that the Growth Hub delivers to the SME community in our region. 

Rob Creer, Growth Hub Manger commented “I am delighted that 74% of the 124 businesses who responded to the survey felt that we had exceeded their expectations and 69% said they were in a better position having accessed support.  The team and I strive to give valued input to all organisations which need help and support.” 

The evaluation found that key issues faced by businesses over the study period included staff shortages, supply chain disruptions and rising costs, the ongoing fallout of the EU exit, climate change and more recently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  It has remained relevant to the times, expanding its offer to incorporate support areas such as Green Economy and Cyber.

The Growth Hub responded swifty to the pandemic in 2020 and aimed to stabilise businesses and ensure their survival with more recent support providing a second phase to help them grow and become more resilient. 

One of the Growth Hub’s aims is to create and safeguard jobs in the region.  One in three businesses has grown their staff numbers and nine stated they had saved 23 jobs following interaction with the Growth Hub.  Using this information and the overall number of businesses who received support, Wavehill estimated that the Growth Hub helped safeguard 149 jobs and £8.4m gross value added. 

The Growing Places Infrastructure Fund (GPIF) launched in 2012, is a circa. £8m capital fund that enables businesses to attain a loan to accelerate and deliver innovative projects to stimulate growth, productivity and jobs.  Since 2012, SWLEP and the Hub have supported an array of exciting, innovative and much needed projects within the SWLEP area including the expansion of manufacturing lines, investment in research and development capability and creation of coworking space. 

Having assisted 2,343 businesses, the most desired support was around access to finance and mentoring (both 47%).  This was closely followed by business planning (43%) and team training (40%).  Of those businesses who responded, 65% stated that they would value further support from the Growth Hub in 2022/23. 

The Growth Hub is the business support arm of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).  It offers a range of information and high-quality business support and impartial advice to all businesses, regardless of circumstance or characteristics, across the region.  

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